The FDIC got off to a quick start today, closing two Georgia banks well before the usual 5 p.m. witching hour: High Trust Bank, Stockbridge, Georgia, and One Georgia Bank, Atlanta, Georgia.
From the FDIC’s press release:
Ameris Bank, Moultrie, Georgia, acquired the banking operations, including all the deposits, of High Trust Bank, Stockbridge, Georgia, and One Georgia Bank, Atlanta, Georgia. The two banks were closed today by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver for each institution. To protect depositors, the FDIC entered into purchase and assumption agreements with Ameris Bank.
[. . .] As of March 31, 2011, High Trust Bank had total assets of $192.5 million and total deposits of $189.5 million; and One Georgia Bank had total assets of $186.3 million and total deposits of $162.1 million. Besides assuming all the deposits from the two Georgia banks, Ameris Bank will purchase essentially all of their assets.
[. . .] The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) for High Trust Bank will be $66.0 million and for One Georgia Bank, $44.4 million. Compared to other alternatives, Ameris Bank’s acquisition of the two institutions was the least costly option for the DIF.
The closings are the 52nd and 53rd FDIC-insured institutions to fail in the nation so far this year and the fifteenth and sixteenth in Georgia. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Mountain Heritage Bank, Clayton, on June 24, 2011.
Ameris already acquired Darby Bank and Trust Co., Tifton Banking Company, First Bank of Jacksonville, Satilla Community Bank in St. Mary’s, United Security Bank of Sparta, and American United Bank of Lawrenceville.
I also heard reliable rumors in recent days that Ameris has been extremely slow in dealing with some property deals in the Savannah area, even in cases of willing buyers and anxious sellers. Perhaps this quick series of acquisitions of failed banks, which is clearly a major push by Ameris to increase its size, has led to neglect of the necessary staffing and structures to do business in a timely fashion?
This is exactly the type of economic drag that would likely be created from a high number of failed or stressed banks.
As I keep noting, there has so far been no political will in Georgia to explain how state policies allowed us to lead the nation in the number of failed banks since 2008.